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Incubator Stories: Meet Selcen_Ozturk and Lavinae

Some of you may have read the first Incubator Story from last week in our new series that highlights incredible Incubator contributors. Today, we're excited to share interviews from Selcen_Ozturk and Lavinae. They have volunteered their time to help build the English for Turkish speakers and English for Dutch speakers courses that graduated from beta today!

We asked them both a few questions about language learning and the Incubator, and here is what they shared :)

<h1>Meet Selcen_Ozturk:</h1>

Contributor to the English for Turkish speakers and Turkish for English speakers courses

What do you do? I live in Heidelberg, Germany. I am a scientist working on the immune system and cancer, and I will (hopefully) get my PhD Degree in a month :)

What languages do you know?  My native language is Turkish. I know English, German (unfortunately not really fluent yet) and un po' di italiano. I would also like to learn some Spanish soon.

What's in your toolbox for translating on the Incubator? Some good old TV series like Friends, music, chocolate, coffee... As the Turkish language association likes changing spelling of some words every couple of years, I often also need http://www.tdk.gov.tr.

When do you translate on the Incubator? I used to translate on the incubator when my experiments had incubation times :) Afterwards, it was a great procrastination tool when I did not want to write my thesis (so basically almost all the time).

Is there anything else you'd like to share with the community? 2 days ago, on 13 May 2014, at least 300 people were killed in a coal mine explosion in Some, Turkey. At the moment, many people are still trapped inside the mine. I would like to commemorate them here. I hope many of the trapped miners can be rescued soon and the Turkish government will take necessary precautions to prevent such future accidents. You can read more about it here:

<h1>Meet Lavinae:</h1>

Contributor to the English for Dutch speakers and Dutch for English speakers courses

What do you do? I'm currently a research master student in communications/information studies specializing in argumentation theory, but will start a second master in political communications (science) in the fall. I work as a Dutch teaching-assistant for a small company, and I'm a restaurant employee, occasionally. 

What's in your toolbox for translating on the Incubator? A pair of glasses, a big warm sweater, some tea, a dictionary, a thesaurus, a grammar book or two, a notebook/excel sheet for taking notes. :)

What do you translate on the Incubator? I translate anything and everything. As a light activity at breakfast, I usually translate some of the interface. Once the day is really on its way, I may engage myself in the more intensive task of creating and building new lessons and handling the reports. In the evening, I usually spend time managing the Dutch forum instead and at night, the Dutch team deliberates, going over problematic sentence translations and complex grammar rules.

Why is language learning so important to you? What has the Incubator taught you? I think it's extremely important to get information and knowledge from a primary source. In addition, by learning a language you will gain insight into a completely new culture and its history, which can change your perspective on life. Not least, however, I consider language learning to be fun. You slowly gather puzzle pieces of knowledge here and there until you have an image of what the other language is like. My experiences with the incubator have taught me that language use is ever so relative. There are not always rules we can cling on to. The only way we can truly teach another our language, is by gaining insight into how we actually use our language, through reasonable discussion, reflection and team spirit with the community. 

To get involved in the Incubator apply here: http://incubator.duolingo.com/apply

May 15, 2014


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Thank you both for your hard work and dedication. You both have so much going on and you have still found time to volunteer in this way and share your languages with the world! Good luck with your graduate studies!

A special thank you to Selcen_Ozturk for bringing our attention to what has happened in Turkey. My heart goes out to everyone affected. I am not much of a praying person, but I will pray today in case anyone or anything is listening. My heart and thoughts will be with those in the mines today.

May 15, 2014

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Pleasure to meet you guys outside the incubator! The profile pictures are always way too small - make sit hard to put a face to a person. Now I feel like I 'know' you guys a bit better!

May 16, 2014


Wow you and your team have really made a difference and so many people all around the world will be able to benefit thanks to your hard work and dedication. I have no doubt that after your academic goals are achieved that you will continue to create massive value for people in your chosen career fields.

May 15, 2014


the Dutch course is the fun way to learn

A great team that put it so much better than many others , that lead to little changes

So quickly in listening and improving and making it so fun

congratulation .

Thanks for putting a smile to the day

May 15, 2014


Thanks you, Selcen_Ozturk and Lavinae for what you do. Once your reverse courses are out, my brain will need some steroids to accelerate my learning, there will be so many languages to learn :)

May 15, 2014


As of today, there are roughly 500K people learning English from either Dutch or Turkish. Duolingo continues to amaze me for the enormous positive impact so few can have on so many. Good job Dutch and Turkish teams! Good job incubator team!

May 16, 2014


I'm starting to love these incubator stories. Congratulations for your courses and thanks for sharing with us your languages. This really is something big, now many many people can learn a new language thanks to people like you. You are awesome!

May 15, 2014


You are right! I agree with you!

May 16, 2014


This - and You both - are very inspirational. Many thanks for what you do, and what will come from that.

May 15, 2014


Thanks Lavinae for all the work you have put into the Dutch course. I have had first hand experience of your dedication and fast response. This is a tribute to you and the the team and my warmest congratulations for bringing this to such a successful completion. My Dutch is the better for having done the (reverse) course ... to the level that I have. I hope that you will continue the next most important step - the Dutch for English speakers course!

Many thanks - and instead of tea .... have a glass of wine - and Cheers!

May 16, 2014


Thanks loads qaa2, it's so great to hear that you've found the course useful, even in the reverse! :)

Oh wine, don't mind if I do... Proost! ^^

May 16, 2014



May 17, 2014


To the two clever ladies at the helm of each of the two qualifying language course teams - all praise! You have done magnificent work.

While I do not know much about the Turkish course, I do know a lot about the Dutch course. This has gone magnificently. Lavinae, you are such a bright star! Thank you so much for all the hard work that you have put into the course. This has really been a terrific labour, a gift to all of us and to the Dutch community! Well done!

May 16, 2014


Thanks so much for the compliment Arthur!

Though really, I couldn't do much without my team mates. I'm looking forward to seeing them being featured in these interviews later on! ^^

May 16, 2014


I appreciate that it was and continues to be a team effort and I appreciate their work too ... but this article is about you, and so what I say stands. Thanks again ... and I am looking forward to the Dutch for English speakers course very much - I see that some of the incubator issues appear to be resolved for there is progress!

May 16, 2014


Haha, yes, it's going great! We're on fire!!! :)

May 16, 2014


It is good to know you, and my heart is with the Turkish miners and their families!

May 17, 2014


Yay ladies! You rock! Thank you so much for your labor and your loyalty to duo and all of us. (Go Dutch! Go Turkish!).  :-)

May 17, 2014


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August 10, 2019
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